[amsat-bb] Re: Path to HEO

Daniel Schultz n8fgv at usa.net
Sun Apr 28 21:51:03 PDT 2013

>In addition, doesn't the process getting from GTO to HEO require some form
>of rapid acceleration? If yes, ion engines and solar sails are out.

The main requirement for escaping from LEO is that the engine thrust must
exceed the atmospheric drag force. The time required to reach a HEO orbit
mainly depends on how much electrical power you can generate, more power means
more thrust and a faster ride to the desired orbit. A Cubesat power budget
will be somewhat limited, deployable solar panels might help somewhat.

Most Cubesat launches are deliberately sent to low orbits to insure rapid
reentry and burn-up to meet orbital debris requirements, that is why Cubesat
launches to GTO are rare. A higher orbit will require a disposal plan, but
electric propulsion can help with that too. Please see my paper in the 2012
AMSAT Symposium Proceedings.

Dan Schultz N8FGV

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